4 Nights / 5 Days Program
01: Arrive Kathmandu. Visit Swayambhunath & Bouddhanath.
Upon arrival, meet & transfer to Hotel. After refreshment, drive to
Swayambhunath is one of the most popular pilgrimage sites for both
Nepalese and Tibetans. It is one of the most ancient Chaityas in
Asia and a major symbol of Nepal’s Buddhist heritage. Swayambhu
represents the Primordial Buddha or Adi-Buddha. The hillock where
Swayambhu Chaitya is built is called by the names of Padmagiri,
Vajrakuta, Gosringa, Gopuchha, Samhegu, and Simbhu and is enlisted
in the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
After this we continue to Boudhanath. Bouddhanath is one of the
most important Buddhist pilgrimage and old heritage sites in Nepal.
It is said that this stupa contains the relics of Buddha Kashyapa.
Almost 176 miniature stupas and paintings of Tibetan Buddhist
pantheons cover the walls that surround the stupa at Bouddhanath.
Newari style chaityas adorn the four gates of the stupa.
Bouddhanath Stupa is believed to be the embodiment of Dharmakaya
(Buddha mind) and hence an object of devotion for all Buddhists. The
stupa built in traditional Nepalese architectural style consists of
a raised plinth, a spherical dome, a cubical steeple and a spire of
13 discs. The plinth that consists of three terraces is believed to
represent thirty-seven factors of enlightenment. The dome represents
Tathagatagarbha (the Buddha nature) from which virtuous special
Bouddhanath Stupa is an important pilgrimage site for Tibetans.
The stupa is mentioned in the Tibetan classical texts such as
Biography of Yeshe Tshogyal (A.D. 8-9) and Padma Ka’thang (A.D.14).
The Tibetan government had jurisdiction over the stupa from
seventeenth century to the nineteenth century. Bouddhanath has
numerous Tibetan monasteries.
Tibetan and Newar pilgrims at the stupa offer butter lamps and
incense. Donating for the maintenance of the stupa is also regarded
as a sacred act. Pilgrims circle and prostrate around the stupa,
turn prayer wheels and recite mantras. They believe that rotating
the prayer wheels and the reciting the six syllable mantra helps
invoke compassion for all the living beings and eliminates the
causes of suffering. They also seek blessings from the Rinpoches
from the surrounding monasteries.
Fly Kathmandu-Lumbini. Sightseeing tour.
After breakfast transfer to Domestic Airport for the flight to
Bhairahawa (30 Minutes) to continue to Lumbini. Check in to Hotel
and full day sightseeing tour of Lumbini.
Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha situated in
western Tarai of Nepal holds a special place in the Buddhist world.
It is also mentioned in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta that the Buddha
advised his followers to visit Lumbini. Emperor Ashoka of erstwhile
Magadha Kingdom of India made a pilgrimage in 3rd century BC and
erected a world famous pillar with inscription stating ”Here the
Buddha was born”. Chinese pilgrims Tsen Tsai (4th Century A.D.),
Fa-hsien (5th Century A.D.) and Hiuen-Tsang(7th Century A.D.)
accounted their travel to Lumbini mentioning that they saw the holy
tree, the pond, stupas and shrines. Hiuen Tsang described the
Ashokan Pillar with a horse capital on the top of it. Temple of Maya
Devi, mother of Lord Buddha has been recently renovated under the
vigilance of UNESCO. Several foreign monasteries and stupas have
been constructed in Lumbini. Overnight at Hotel.
Day 03: Full day visit of Kapilvastu – Kudan-Gotihawa – Niglihawa
– Sagarhawa-Devadaha- Tilaurakot-Ramgram
After breakfast proceed for full day visit of important Buddhist
sites around Lumbini.
Located 27 km. west of Lumbini lies the ruins of historic
town of ‘Kapilvastu’. Believed to be the capital of Shakya republic
where the Lord lived and enjoyed his life until his thirteenth year,
Kapilvastu has been identified with Tilaurakot. Also, the place is
believed to have been associated with different important episodes:
there are ruins and mounds of old stupas and monasteries made of
kiln-burnt bricks and clay-mortar. The remains are surrounded by a
moat and the wall of the city is made of bricks. It is said that
Kapilvastu was named after Saint Kapila. Pali text Sumangala
Vilasini, elaborates that the exiled sons of King Okkaka of Kosala
established Kapilvastu. The Pancvargiya Bhiksus were from Kapilvastu
and it is said that the historic Buddha visited Kapilvastu several
times in his life. The first nunnery, in the Buddhist history was
established in Kapilvastu.
Both Fa-Hien and Hiuen-Tsang visited Kapilvastu. The
latter wrote that he saw Kapilvastu in complete ruins and counted 10
deserted cities within Kapilvastu. However, the decline of Buddhism
in India after the thirteenth century caused the recollection of
Kapilvastu to remain obscure.
About four and a half kilometers south of Tilaurakot is situated
the village of Kudan. In the vicinity of the village there are huge
mounds of structural ruins and a tank nearby that appear to be the
wreckage of stupas and monasteries. According to archeologist
P.C.Mukherjee the remains are those of Nigrodharma, where King
Suddhodhana met Lord Buddha. The remains may also be of the “Kasaya”
stupa where a kasaya (yellow robe) was presented to Lord Buddha.
However, this has not been confirmed. Some scholars believe that
Kudan is Kshemavati, the birthplace of Krakuchanda Buddha.
The stupa is 25 feet high and festooned with prayer
flags. There is a shrine which was once the residence of Akshyobhya
Buddha. The tympanum at the shrine has unique four handed image of
Shankar Narayan. There are several images of Sadakshari Lokesvara,
Shahasrabhuja Lokesvara, Lakshmi, Uma and Buddha. There are also
chaityas, mandala and mantra graffiti. The retreat monastery of
Karma Kagyu is nearby.
About 5 km. southwest of Taulihawa, there is a village
called Gotihawa. In the village there is an Ashok Pillar standing in
a slab. The upper portion of the pillar is broken and lost and only
the lower portion of the pillar 3.5m. high is still intact.
Adjoining the pillar towards its northeast there is a huge stupa
with successive ring of wedge shaped Mauryan bricks.
Niglihawa: About 8 km, northwest of Taulihawa, there is
another site of archaeological importance. The site has quadrangular
tank surrounded by bushes, locally known as Niglisagar. On the
western Bank of the tank there are two broken pieces of the Ashok
pillar, the longer one laying flat and the shorter ones stack into
the ground. The pillar bears 2 peacocks on the top part and a
Devanagari script inscription reading Om Mani Padme Hun.
The shorter portion of the pillar which is partly buried in the
ground measures 1.52m in length bears four lines of Ashok
inscription in the Brahmi script which roughly translates as: "King
Piyadasi Beloved of the gods, after 14 years of his coronation
enlarged for the second time the stupa of Buddha kanaka Muni, and
after 20 years of his coronation he came himself and worshipped (and
) he caused (this) stone pillar to be erected:"
Sagarhawa: About 12 km. north of Taulihawa, there is a forest
area called Sagarhawa. In the midst of the forest there is a huge
rectangular tank, which is popularly known as Lumbusagar, or a long
tank. The ancient tanks ruins, which were excavated and identified
by Dr. Aslois A Fuhrer as the ‘Palace of massacre of the Shakyas’
can still be located on the west south banks of the Sagar.
Devadaha: It is the parental home of Queen Maya Devi, mother
of Lord Buddha which is situated 38 kilometres east of Lumbini near
the village of Khairhani. Devadaha was the capital of the erstwhile
capital Koliyas dynasty.
Some Buddhist literature mentions that there was a
tradition among the Sakyas and Koliyas to give birth of the first
child in the mother's parent's house. There was a close affinity
between Koliyas and Shakyas which was established by intermarriage.
Between these two towns flowed a small river Rohini. On the bank of
the Rohini or Rohita were gardens. Perhaps to observe the tradition,
Maya set off to her parent's house in Devadaha, but she gave birth
to her child on her arrival at Lumbini. Devadaha means the tank of
the gods and there
The Ramgram Kingdom: The Ramgram Kingdom was 60 kilometers to
the east of the holy place of the Buddha's birth. The King of
Ramgram Kingdom was one of the eight Kings who obtained Buddha's
relics and he also built a pagoda, which is named Ramgram Pagoda.
And the relics were in it for offering. A dragon King was in the
pond near the pagoda and the dragon King often kept guard to the
pagoda and paid worship to it all day and night.
After building the stupa containing the relics of the
Buddha's body, this site became one of the centres of pilgrimage and
Emperor Ashoka wanted to open the eight Pagodas to make eighty-four
thousand pagodas except the Ramgram. The dragon King appeared when
Emperor Ashoka wanted to damage the Ramgram pagoda. Emperor Ashoka
saw that the dragon King was paying worship and was offering to the
pagoda. The dragon King said, "if you could do better offering than
this, you could do damage this pagoda and nobody would stop you."
Emperor Ashoka knew that no offering in the world would be like this
and he could not do better than the Dragon King, so he went back to
his country without damaging the pagoda.
Ramgram stupa is located almost at the middle of the island area.
The relief of the stupa is not evenly raised now. The southern and
eastern side of the stupa is raised evenly to the centre forming the
top where as north and south have more falls. The contour of the
west side falls is steeper than north side. They were sculpted out
by the trees grown on those sides.
Day 04: Fly Bhairahawa – Kathmandu. Afternoon visit Patan.
free for visit local monasteries before heading to airport for the
flight back to Kathmandu. Upon arrival transfer to Hotel.
After refreshment, drive to Patan. Patan City is an enchanting
mélange of palace buildings, artistic courtyard and former Royal
palace complex. One remarkable monument here is a 16th century
temple dedicated to the Hindu God Lord Krishna, built entirely of
stone. Tibetan Refuge Camp is famous for its weaving carpet and
other Tibetan art. The famous Kwa Baha also popularly called Golden
Temple is situated in Patan. The vihara is known by several names
such as Sri Bhaskaradeva Samskarita Hiranyavarna MahaVihara, Kwa
Baha, Kwaba and Hiranyavarna MahaVihara. Kwa Baha is a Tibetan style
monastery. The Mahabouddha Temple also known as Mahabodhi Mandap
Vihara is one of the most well-known Buddhist sites of Patan. The
temple architecture is said to be inspired by Bodh-Gaya temple
structure in Bihar. The temple is a branch of Rudravarna MahaVihara
Day 05: Transfer to airport for departure.
After breakfast, transfer to airport for the flight back home.
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